Monday, February 1, 2010

Animals in translation

Archer brought home an illustrated version of Black Beauty for his nightly reading homework last week. And unlike most fiction he reads, he really seemed interested in it. He continued reading even after his timer beeped to get to the end of a paragraph or page. He paused to make comments on the action, like "He's going to be sold again?"

His connection to the story reminded me of a minor obsession I had as a kid with books narrated by animals. I remember a whole series of Scholastic hardbacks with that theme. The one that sticks with me purported to be the autobiography of an Arctic seal pup.

Of course, I wonder if Archer is able to involve himself in an animal's less complicated, less socially variable emotions -- if there's some kind of Temple Grandin effect going on.

At any rate, I asked him if he'd be interested in reading more books with stories told by animals. Do you have a favorite you'd recommend?

7 comments:

Doc Thelma said...

Try the Thorton W. Burgess Nature stories (Burgess Bird Book for Children, Burgess Animal Book for children. My dad read them to me multiple times as a child. They are about a rabbit going around learning the natural history of all the other animals, birds, etc. The Animal one's a bit dated (buffalo and pronghorn on the brink of extinction, rabbits classified as rodents rather than lagomorphs, yes, it matters to us science types) but the Bird book is still pretty accurate.

There are a bunch of more traditional "story stories" about the same animals (Old Mother West Wind series, The Adventures of Reddy Fox, etc. but the animals are more anthropomorphic there, so they may not fit the bill.

Eric Grubbs said...

How about The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Watership Down, Plague Dogs, or even Maus?

Doc Thelma said...

Oh, yes! Rabbit Hill!

Jack said...

"The Trumpet of the Swan" by E.B. White was one of my favorites.

Jenn said...

Brian Jacques's _Redwall_ series is pretty enjoyable and probably easily found at both the library and bookmooch.

Dwayne Bowman said...

Maybe he would like The Mouse and the Motorcycle or even The Wind in the Willows at some point...

Anonymous said...

I don't remember any animal-led stories, but I definitely enjoyed The Indian in the Cupboard and The Borrowers, perhaps I had a fascination with little people!
ConnieP